Well, what to say about the stage adaptation of Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate. It goes for nearly three and a half hours and is in Russian with subtitles projected onto a little screen above the stage. On paper it sounds like a rough night at the theatre, and true it does take a sizable amount of patience and immense concentration to get through it, but I’m proud to say I did get through it, I MOSTLY understood what was going on and I enjoyed it a lot!
by: David Ferrier @davidferia
I just got back from the matinee performance of Les Sept Planches De La Ruse, and i’m still struggling to come to terms with what i just saw. I say that in a good way of course, i’m not coming to terms with what i just saw in the way i would if i had just witnessed a baby seal being clubbed, i mean it in the way that Les Sept was unlike anything i’ve ever seen before.
I went into it not knowing anything about the show. I’m still not convinced that’s the best thing to do even though i know it will mean i have no expectations or preconceived notions of what i’m about to see, but in situations like that, i’m always afraid i’m going to miss some really important piece of symbolism or something (which i did) and this show is high on the symbolic ladder.
Ok, il keep this brief and to the point.
Les Sept is show combing human movement with the use of props (big triangles, rectangles and a parallelogram) and is a collaboration between French visual artist/aesthetic genius and members of the Beijing Opera actors from Dalin, China.
The show starts with the seven planches together forming one big rectangle stage where a sole Chinese violinist plays. From there the cast of around 13 people emerged and over the next hour and 20 minutes blew away the audience with the inventive visual story where the ’seven boards of skill’ were pushed and moved and elevated all around the stage into various athletically pleasing places with the performers climbing and balancing on, over and under them.
Highlights for me were definitely the acrobatic elements of the show, they were brief and sparsely appeared throughout the show but they were thrilling. I’m a 12-year-old at heart so the moment’s when a dude dip a big ol’ flip off one of the shapes and the brief moments of styalised combat tapped into the excitement i feel watching Police Story (Jackie Chan at his peak).
I know that’s such a shallow part of the heavily metaphorically show to write about, if you asked one of the several kids in the audience to write about the show i think that’s what they’d mention too.
It would be criminal not to mention the symbolism. I loved it. I loved the way the large pieces were moved, making them into imposing forces on stage and used to tell the various stories of the show. The thing with symbolism like that, in this shows like this is that I think the meaning of what’s being shown on stage is up for interpretation from the audience. For me, I saw mountains, cities and chases along with extraordinary acts of balancing. Whether i’m took the meaning that was intended is, i think, unimportant. It’s inevitable that everyone will read what’s being performed differently.
In short, Sept Planches gets sept thumbs up for it’s creativity and its mind blowing combination of movement, acrobatics and giant props.
SO, Not sure if my word is worth a cent? Are you saying to yourself, ‘who does he think he is? Taking up precious internet space writing about a show HE thinks is good! Probably doesn’t know a thing about theatre!’ Well, your sort of right. I have no authority to be writing about what’s a good show or not, the only reason i am is because John lets me. So go and see the show yourself, because while some of the nuances of the Les Sept may elude some people like me, its a show that i guarantee you will enjoy purely for its aesthetic and acrobatic appeal if nothing else. Go on, get a ticket. You won’t regret it. Unless you get mugged on the way to the Regal or something. That wouldn’t be nice.
The end… again.
Ps there’s a typo in the program! OMG! … is it hypocritical of me to point out things like that when my bad grammar is the bane of my existence? Yes it is.. I spelt ‘Sidious’ wrong last time.
Oh well. I know the difference between to, too and two and you, your and you’re. That’s got to count for something.
Ok, this is the real end.
My art is… at times illustrative and at others very painterly. Images are created based on impulse and the emotional state I’m in, and reflected on once completed. I rarely have answers for my art, they just are and I need to get them out of my mind/system. Some days I want to draw a portrait, some days I’ll paint a couple in a fight…I’m not locking myself into anything. But I have a style I seem to carry on, no matter what I do.
I use… Bloxx oil paint on Japanese Ash wood panels that I either box frame or put under glass. I like wood as its resistant to damage (me putting my foot through it), natural grain backgrounds and its natural warm texture. I’m a big fan of canvases -bigger the better. But I hate how careful you have to be around them. For my everyday roughs I use plain brown paper or large sheets of butchers paper, I love that stuff. For fine drawings I’ll use any 300gsm Watercolour paper.
When I work I… listen to music and usually zone out for the majority of the creative process. Usually I listen to soundtracks/soundscapes to movies eg. Solaris or a complete opposite like Sonic Youth/ Mogwai. Or I’ll have a movie playing in the background, it helps me switch on to the art process if there’s something else going on.
I live in Melbourne because… if you’re a creative person, Melbourne will take care of you. Surrounded by a huge variety of artist theres always something going on or someone to meet thats like-minded. The food is cheap and variety, coffee is golden, ride anywhere worth going or tram it, pub on every corner and the freedom to be whoever you want without prejudice.
Over the next year I… Recently moved into a new studio space in the iconic Melbourne Central Complex with around 10 other creative artists and I’ll be exhibiting throughout the year. At the same time I will also be working on finishing my first novel (Young Adults Fiction) and start illustrating the characters in watercolour and pencil. (like a Wind in the Willows book)
I think that… life is too confusing to not be creative.
WHY I WOULDN’T TRAVEL THROUGH TIME
[or how I stopped worrying and learned to love the present]
The short answer is because I have cancer. Before you jump to conclusions – I found it early (in my junk), had it cut out and the doctor says he expects me to be cured, without having to lose my hair, but that’s besides the point.
Going back in time is something that I expect every one would want to do for one reason or another. You could be the Beatles before the Beatles, assassinate Hitler or go work out with Arnie at Golds Gym. I’ve always wanted to go back in time so I could create Spiderman and buy stocks in Microsoft.
But ever since my diagnosis I am so glad that I exist now because if I were my age in the 1930s I would be:
So for me, time travel is no longer Churchill or Napoleon, Hitler or Caesar, its chemo or no chemo?
Louis C.K said, “A black guy in a time machine is like, ‘hey anything before 1980, no thank you, I don’t wanna go.” It’s a humorous observation that now has a lot of relevance to my situation and to the countless number of other cancer patients. While I’m at it, anyone who’s ever suffered a heart attack, stoke, leukemia, diabetes or even glandular fever wouldn’t want to go back in time.
My great grandfather died from cancer in his hacky sack when he was only 38. It was 1912, x-rays weren’t invented then, and his family wasn’t told what was wrong with him. I assume great great granny knew but the rest of the family (grandpa and all the little Ferriers) were always told that he was hit in the leg with a cricket ball which caused a blood clot. My family only found out the truth a short time ago. I guess it was a point of shame? Or just something people never talked about back then. Did they even know what cancer was? Fuck the past.
If anything I want to go forward in time, but then there would be the dreaded possibility of meeting myself and making the universe explode.
P.s. FUCK CANCER.